ORLANDO, Fla. — Doctors and medical experts have been urging Americans to get vaccinated since December, when the FDA and CDC approved emergency use of Pfizer and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines.
Now, Pfizer could soon be granted full approval for use and health leaders say it’s coming at a critical moment in the pandemic.
What You Need To Know
- FDA could grant Pfizer full approval for its COVID-19 vaccine later this week
- Florida doctors say timing is critical as hospitals are stretched thin
- More coronavirus headlines
Senior federal officials say that the FDA could grant Pfizer full approval for its COVID-19 vaccine later this week.
And many doctors are now hoping it will drive even more people to get vaccinated, helping allay concerns from those who are vaccine hesitant.
Some doctors say the timing of this is critical as hospitals in Florida and across the nation are stretched thin trying to keep up with the flood of COVID-19 patients needing help.
As the Delta variant spreads and drives case numbers up across the nation, many hospitals are filling with COVID patients.
Mary Mayhew, President of the Florida Hospital Association, said more than 17,000 people have been hospitalized with COVID in just six weeks, many previously healthy 20- and 30-year-olds coming in are now needing intensive care and ventilators and it’s straining the system.
“Not only are we seeing a significant number of COVID hospitalizations, but we have a much higher volume of critically ill, non-COVID patients,” Mayhew said. “We have a severe staffing shortage that’s, Florida is not unique. There is a workforce shortage around the country. But it is the combination of those factors that is stretching the system, straining the system.”
According to the Florida Hospital Association, there are nearly 17,000 COVID-19 patients in the hospital right now.
Nationwide, more than 51 percent of the total US population is fully vaccinated.
And that’s right in line with Florida, which is reporting it too has 51 percent of the population. That’s more than 10 million people now fully vaccinated.
With the full FDA approval of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine expected to come down in the coming days, doctors are urging people to go out and get vaccinated quickly.